FORT SMITH (KFSM)- The Sebastian County Sheriff's office named fallen deputy Corporal Bill Cooper as their Deputy of the Year. The Sheriff's office also honored the men and women who serve the county each day at their annual awards banquet on Thursday night (Dec. 8).
"The most gratifying part of an awards ceremony is being able to reward those people who have done something special and who have gone above and beyond," said Hobe Runion, Sebastian County Sheriff's Office chief deputy.
Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck and Chief Runion reflected on Aug. 10, the day they lost Cpl. Bill Cooper.
"Every day of his career, he left this world a better place than what it was when he came into it," Runion said. "Coop is awarded the Purple Heart, the Police Cross, and our Deputy of the Year."
Runion said it's difficult to announce this award without Cooper being there.
"Honestly, he probably would've been Deputy of the Year this year anyways with his body of work and with everything he's done for years," Runion said. "It kind of made it bittersweet to have to do it when he's not here to accept the award."
The awards included officers from other agencies too. Chief Runion said these men came running during the Sebastian County Sheriff's Office's time of need.
"Anybody in my position, they would've done the same thing," Hackett Police Chief, Darrell Spells said. "I believe there were 200 other officers at the scene; they all did the same thing as me."
After a tough year for the sheriff's office, they said they'll carry on.
"We keep going," Runion said. "We're doing our best to move on. We all have tragedies in our life, some worse than others, but we have to move on and we owe it to those who left us to move on."